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'Striking' faults in GP epilepsy care

A new analysis of GP epilepsy care has revealed 'striking' deficiencies in patient reviews and shared-care arrangements.

The study leader, Dr Ian Minshall, a GP in Chester, said

his research, conducted pre-contract, emphasised the extent of the reorganisation needed to bring epilepsy care up to standard.

Dr Minshall audited the case notes of 610 patients from 13 practices in Cheshire, including his own. Practice review rates varied from 79 per cent in his own to 7 per cent elsewhere.

Only 19 per cent of patients were being reviewed at least annually and 43 per cent had not been reviewed by their GP for more than two years.

Dr Minshall also estimated that only 57 per cent of adults with refractory epilepsy were receiving shared-care, while in 11 per cent of cases there was diagnostic doubt.

He said: 'The most striking finding was the inadequate review arrangements. No practice achieved a 90 per cent review rate while four practices failed to achieve 25 per cent, which is the minimum quality standard in the GMS contract.'

He said as well as documenting care, his project provided GPs with a template for each patient to facilitate both review and communication with secondary care.

'Our methods were well received within participating practices and could be widely replicated,' Dr Minshall reported in an early online paper in Seizure.

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